Comment of the Day: “The Digital Revolution Will Make Human Civilization Invisible to Extraterrestrial Search"
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“Digital Revolution Will Make Human Civilization Invisible to Extraterrestrial Search" --Frank Drake (Weekend Feature)



Some of the world's leading astronomers -- including Great Britain's astronomer royal, Sir Martin Rees -- believe advanced extraterrestrial civilizations, rather than using different radio waves or visible light to signal, may be using an entirely different communication medium such as ghostly neutrinos or with gravitational waves (ripples in the fabric of space-time) or using communication mechanisms we cannot begin to fathom.

“The fact that we have not yet found the slightest evidence for life -- much less intelligence -- beyond this Earth," said Arthur C. Clarke, "does not surprise or disappoint me in the least. Our technology must still be laughably primitive, we may be like jungle savages listening for the throbbing of tom-toms while the ether around them carries more words per second than they could utter in a lifetime."

Lord Rees, a leading cosmologist and astrophysicist who is the president of Britain’s Royal Society and astronomer to the Queen of England believes the existence of extraterrestrial life may be beyond human understanding.

“They could be staring us in the face and we just don’t recognize them. The problem is that we’re looking for something very much like us, assuming that they at least have something like the same mathematics and technology."

“I suspect there could be life and intelligence out there in forms we can’t conceive. Just as a chimpanzee can’t understand quantum theory, it could be there as aspects of reality that are beyond the capacity of our brains.” 

Frank Drake, the founder of SETI and Drake's Equation, believes that satellite TV and the “digital revolution” is making humanity invisible to aliens by cutting the transmission of TV and radio signals into space. The earth is currently surrounded by a 50 light year-wide “shell” of radiation from analogue TV, radio and radar transmissions. According to Drake, digital TV signals would look like white noise to a race of observing aliens.

Although the signals have spread far enough to reach many nearby star systems, they are rapidly vanishing in the wake of digital technology, said Drake. In the 1960s, Drake spearheaded the conversion of the Arecibo Observatory to a radio astronomy center. As a researcher, Drake was involved in the early work on pulsars. Drake also designed the Pioneer plaque with Carl Sagan in 1972, the first physical message sent into space. The plaque was designed to be understandable by extraterrestrials should they encounter it.

Milan Cirkovic of the Astronomical Observatory in Belgrade, points out that the median age of terrestrial planets in the Milky Way is about 1.8 gigayears (one billion years) greater than the age of the Earth and the Solar System, which means that the median age of technological civilizations should be greater than the age of human civilization by the same amount. The vastness of this interval indicates that one or more processes must suppress observability of extraterrestrial communities.

Since at this point, there is no direct and/or widely apparent evidence that extraterrestrial life exists, it likely means one of the following:

We are (A) the first intelligent beings ever to become capable of making our presence known, and leaving our planet. At this point, there are no other life forms out there as advanced as us. Or perhaps extraterrestrial life does exists, but for some reason extraterrestrial life is so very rare and so very far away we’ll never make contact anyway -- making extraterrestrial life nonexistent in a practical sense at least.

Or is it (B) that many advanced civilizations have existed before us, but without exception, they have for some unknown reason, existed and/or expanded in such a way that they are completely undetectable by our instruments.

Or is it (C) There have been others, but they have all run into some sort of “cosmic roadblock” that eventually destroys them, or at least prevents their expansion beyond a small area.

Since Earth’s placement in space and time appears to be unremarkably random, proposition “A” seems fairly unlikely. Assuming humans evolved like other forms of life into our present state due to natural selection, then there's really nothing all that mystical, special or remarkable about our development as a species either. Due to the sheer numbers, there are almost certainly other planets capable of supporting at least some form of life. If that is so, then for Earthlings to be the very first species ever to make a noticeable mark on the Universe, from a statistical perspective, is incredibly unlikely.

For proposition “B” to be correct would defy all logic. If potentially thousands, or even millions of advanced extraterrestrial civilizations exist in the known Universe, then why would all of them, without exception, choose to expand or exist in such a way that they are completely undetectable? It’s conceivable that some might, or perhaps even the majority, but for all of them to be completely undetectable civilizations does not seem likely either.

Proposition C in some ways, appears to be more likely than A or B. If “survival of the fittest” follows similar pathways on other worlds, then our own “civilized” nature could be somewhat typical of extraterrestrial civilizations that have, or do, exist. Somehow, we all get to the point where we end up killing ourselves in a natural course of technological development and thereby self-inflict our own “cosmic roadblock”.

The Daily Galaxy via and The Telegraph

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When you look at the current level at which our own technology is advancing, quantum computing, cloaking technology, robotics, nanotech, communications. It's not really such a far stretch to think that somewhere out there among the trillions of possible life harboring planets, that another intelligent civilization has done the same things. If they had even a 100 year head start on us they would already be so far advanced, now give them a 1000 year head start or even a 1 million year head start. Their technology would be so far in advance of our own. They could literally be here right now. Existing inside and outside of our known reality. Hidden only by a technological barrier. If they were a billion years older than our civilization i doubt we could even comprehend there technology. A type 3 civilization as Michio Kaku says would have the technology to harness the power of an entire galaxy. Who knows what a type 4 civilization would resemble. When you consider how short 1 million years is on a cosmic scale, its not out of the realm of possibilities.

I love this stuff

I agree, i watched lots of Star Trek TNG and they could slip in with ease and pose as any of them lol

“Digital Revolution Will Make Human Civilization Invisible to Extraterrestrial Search" --Frank Drake

Nothing of the sort, the electromagnetic background radiation of our civilization is getting stronger and stronger. We are also sending an increasing amount of radio waves to space.

and the disciples asked Jesus what Heaven was like and he said,'You do not understand 'earthly things how would you understand 'heavenly' things?'

Everything living on earth and having been invented on earth can be of no imaginable use or interest on part of aliens whose chemistry and environmental characteristics should be based on totally different parameters.

I sense that there is much greater intelligence somewhere but that they are purposely letting us evolve without interference. They must be keeping an eye on us as we pollute Space like a parasitic cancer. And if THEY have survived their own self-destruction, perhaps they have more consciously merged with creativity in the One, interconnected creation. But of course, this a guess. I believe it will all be revealed when we are ready.

Obviously the universe has it right and I think that the universe isn't gonna set you up for failure. There is limited time we have here on Earth and we have to start coming together as one and figure it out! Im betting its better then we could ever believe, but we have only so many tries at it till we get something right. Either it's a computer that keeps us alive somehow or there is a reason why we are kept so humble to life That some how we could be kept alive consciously and are able to search life in all its grands through the mind. I wanna watch and see how everyone dies... every sigle species! How they live also but what is their downfall because of their arrogant ways.

> are purposely letting us evolve

A civilization billions of years old, why should they care about us, more than we care for a disgusting mold in the pantry ? Because we show 'promise' ? Even a fungus has potential promise, in the right circumstances and given enough time.
IMHO we are out there, naked so to speak, and @ the mercy of the Lords of Chance :-) Hehehe, go to a casino and give the One Arm Bandit a try !

If a percentage of planets are hospitable to life. And a percentage of planets evolve intelligent life. Then surely a percentage of planets avoid option c.

Now if a percentage of those planets have the desire to find us, and a percentage of those planets have the ability to reach us, are we, as a species, so unique we are the only ones who would?

It seems to go back to option A. Unless this cosmic roadblock is something other than self destruction and we haven't reached the technological level to determine what it is.

What if we thought that we were intelligent. But, other civilizations didn't? They might think of us as we think of a monkey or maybe less.

"At a place called Baalbek, forty miles east of Beirut, there is an ancient site whose builders are unknown. It boasts the world's largest quarried blocks. Three colossal foundation stones of red granite, together referred to as the Trilithon, weigh nearly eleven hundred tons each and make up an immense platform called the Grand Terrace...The weight of these stones is so great that today there exists no modern machine that could move them. The largest block is sixty-five feet in length; fourteen feet, six inches in height; and twelve feet thick. The two others are the same height and thickness, but are slightly shorter, sixty-four feet, ten inches, and sixty-three feet, two inches. A fourth stone, called Hajar-el-Hibla, or "stone of the pregnant woman," was never moved from the quarry. It is the largest, weighing an estimated twelve hundred tons." (end quote)... and we think we`re advanced...IMHO we`re just a simple Zoo for the advanced aliens.

We are already an example of option (C). Not because we will surely destroy ourselves but because our expansion is prevented beyond a small area. Namely this planet. We might develop emissaries and ambassadors to boldly go where no one has gone before, but they may be made of silicon and steel instead of meat. They would need to survive cosmic radiation and live without gravity, and not atrophy away into blobs. But these human bodies are very closely tied to this habitat.

Space exploration may well come for our successors but they may not be carbon based life forms like us.

maybe our universe is a laboratory of an advanced "alien" - named by us a "god".
and our sun have 5 billion years, right?

@Bill Nye "The Science Guy" I would bet my last dollar that there is a species out there that was raised the exact opposite of us. Such as they don't think of themselves as special or above anything. Believe in left handers more then rights. Dont have currency... No movies or Cinema but nature... Pretty much the opposite of how we were raised or how we have thought of life. Just totally different then us in every aspect! Would we get along with them? Probably not but is that the point.

Just two statements of the obvious.
Firstly: the primal act of intelligence is to be as curious as possible.
Secondly: you do NOT make it difficult to communicate (by, for example, using a difficult medium such as Neutrinos}.

Thank you for your information

The most likely explanation is the that extra terrestrial life is very rare and that ET's advanced enough to communicate by radio or lasers is ever rarer. A book called "Rare Earth" by Peter Ward etc. discusses these issues in great detail.

There are three huge leaps that have to be made:

1) Life from inanimate matter. In spite of contrived experiments and speculative theories no convincing pathways have been found for this huge step. Whatever happened must have been exceedingly rare.

2) The jump to multicellular life. Life existed on earth for 1-2 billion years as single-cell life. If life exists outside of Earth most of it must be in this form.

3) Intelligent life capable of communication. Humans are an afterthought in evolution and even among humans technology was an afterthought.

There is life teeming at the geothermal vents in our oceans, in conditions that would kill us fast. Who says liquid water and oxygen are needed for life? They could be breathing methane right now on Titan, coming up a short few hundred years after us. Or thousands before.

Bogus story. I mean let's just be realistic. We have been contacted by ET's for YEARS. If you want to know why they aren't seen more often, maybe you should ask your government... I am sure they have plenty of proof they are withholding from you.

we were created intelligent enough for accepting orders and dumb enough for not to travel to the stars... we are some kind of lost alien genetic experiment.

I agree with the solutions for problems A & B. Life in the Universe should be fairly widespread, and leaving no trail would be hard to do. Maybe B is still a distinct possibility if intelligent species have a short detectability. But you missed something on point C. It is indeed possible that intelligences meet a roadblock, but it doesn't have to be death or war or disease or some other kind of disaster. I can simply be this: when going through the normal evolution of an intelligent species you pass the point where you are interested in contacting other intelligent species. Such a point could be the singularity or another technology that mimics real life so much, that most species retreat to a simulated world.

we are alone. deal with it.

A humble admission of how little we know is welcome. But it should be accompanied by a suspension of lecturing the public from the scientific community.

You're actually missing another scenario:

(D) The extraterrestrials were involved in seeding life on this planet in a grand experiment - essentially using their own DNA to create a younger generation of humans who would be given the opportunity to evolve in isolation. The ET's would provide subtle guidance throughout history, but for the most part remain totally silent, invisible and out of our affairs.

Until our species matured to the point of establishing a peaceful, planetary civilization we would remain in "quarantine" -- essentially shut off from all other life in the cosmos. This would be in accordance with some type of galactic law and order protocol, and when the time came, first contact could be established.

Learn more by searching for Extraterrestrial article tags here

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